Stimulation of the immune system or experimental conditions (bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment) provoke a broad spectrum of physiological responses. It was recently shown that one of them is the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The mechanism and the site or sites through which LPS stimulates the HPA axis are not well understood. To establish whether the effect of bacterial LPS is related in vivo to the presence of hypothalamic hypophysiotrophic peptides (corticotrophin-releasing factor 41, arginine vasopressin, etc.), plasma ACTH and corticosterone levels were monitored in intact and sham-operated rats, and in rats with paraventricular nucleus lesions in order to remove the main source of these neuropeptides. Evidence was obtained that 4 h after treatment, LPS was able to activate the hypophysial-adrenal system in the absence of hypophysiotrophic neuropeptides of paraventricular origin. It is suggested that, in vivo, LPS could have a direct effect on the pituitary gland or that it acts through an extrapituitary, non-paraventricular pathway to activate the HPA axis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism